Force India has become the first team to show off its new car – well, a rendered image anyway – as the Formula 1 grid gears up for next week’s first pre-season test at Jerez.
The most striking piece is the new paint scheme, with jet black dominating the flanks of the VJM07 design, which will be powered by Mercedes’ new V6 turbo engine designed for this year’s new powerplant regulations. The team’s customary colours – green, white and saffron (don’t call it orange!) – still remain, although to a lesser extent.
“The VJM07 looks stunning and the new livery reflects the way Sahara Force India is evolving,” team principal Vijay Mallya said.
“I’ve always believed our cars have been the most eye-catching, but adding black as a main colour gives us a fierce new look.”
Having spent much of the past six years sporting the logos of Vijay Mallya’s various alcohol brands, the VJM07 sports some significant external sponsors’ stickers.
Mexican telecommunications giant Claro and lubricant oil company Roshfrans have both signed on as sponsors of the team – the former coming with the team’s signing of McLaren refugee Sergio Pérez – while former Williams sponsor Astana has also come on board.
“It’s been a busy winter for us on the technical and commercial front,” Mallya added.
“When I founded the team my first ambition was to launch the first Indian team on the grid, but the next stage in our evolution is to develop a global brand. I think that ambition is reflected in the partners we are working with and our world class driver line-up. It certainly feels as though there is the potential for 2014 to be our strongest season yet.”
The new colour scheme certainly doesn’t detract from a huge amount of work behind the scenes to design the VJM07 to take full advantage of the wholesale regulation changes that come into effect this season.
“Almost every single part is a new design, from the front wing right back to the diffuser,” the team’s technical director, Andy Green, added.
“The genetics of the VJM07 still lie in the 2013 car, but we’ve had to achieve the same results in a slightly different way.
“The nose is a stand-out but from the nose backwards it looks quite similar. It’s a little bit ‘fatter’ for the increased cooling requirements, but we hope to trim that out during the early part of the season. To be competitive we have to develop and because there are so many areas that need significantly refining, optimising the performance of this car is going to be a big challenge.
“It’s been a massive job to accommodate all the changes to the power unit – it’s the biggest change I’ve witnessed in the sport since I started in 1990. Cooling has been the biggest challenge with most of last summer taken up trying to understand the cooling requirements of the power unit, and how best to optimise it in the chassis.”
Force India is yet to officially confirm when it will launch a physical version of the VJM07, although it is expected to occur before or on the first day of pre-season testing, which takes place on January 28.